RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Big changes are happening within the Pennington County Sheriff Office, starting at the top.
On January 3rd of this year, Brian Mueller was officially sworn in as Sheriff. Since then, he says things have been very busy.
“It’s been a very exciting time for me in the first eight weeks in office as sheriff. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed most is that we’ve promoted a lot of people and moved people around in the organization. So we have new lieutenants, new captains, a new chief deputy. I just really enjoyed working with those people in their new capacities and watching them grow and learn in their new roles,” Sheriff Mueller said.
While Mueller says things have been going well, there are some challenges in his new role. Including staffing.
“It’s not new, but our recruitment and retention, specifically on the corrections ranks has taken up a lot of our time and we are working on some new strategies that will hopefully make that better in the near future,” Sheriff Mueller said.
Chief Deputy Willie Whelchel has worked with Sheriff Mueller for 12 years at the Sheriff’s Office.
“So I really believed that solidified for him to be the next sheriff. Because he became so well-rounded with everything that we do so it was a pretty natural transition for him,” Chief Deputy Willie Whelchel said.
Mueller says he is looking forward to getting out in the community more, but remains busy behind his desk until then.
“I was hoping to be out a little more in our facilities, out in the community a little bit more. But the administrative tasks on getting things transitioned over is not going as quickly as I’d hoped but it is very important work so we are taking our time and getting through it,” Sheriff Mueller said.
Sheriff Mueller says he has some big projects in the future, including the new Crisis Stabilization Unit and addressing the drug problem and recent violence in Rapid City and Pennington County.